NEWS HIGHLIGHTS: A Samsung smartphone exploded in Indonesia this week. The handset in question was Samsung Grand Duos model. Samsung says the man wasn’t using an approved battery.
Samsung smartphones can’t seem to catch a break. Months after the South Korean technology giant put the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone debacle behind it, another Samsung phone went up in flames this week.
A Samsung Grand Duos model released in 2013 exploded in a man’s shirt pocket, Channel News Asia reported on Thursday. The man in Indonesia is seen falling onto the ground as he tries to remove his shirt after the phone exploded.
The incident was caught on CCTV at Hotel Ciputra Semarang where the man works. Called Yulianto, he is seen reaching for his phone when it suddenly burst into bright blue flames. He fell to the ground frantically trying to get his shirt off for a couple of seconds before a bystander stepped in to help. Yulianto suffered minor burns, said local police, adding that the combustion may have been partly caused by the victim using Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth features concurrently when it happened. The graphic CCTV footage of the video is embedded below.
A Samsung spokesman from the South Korean electronics giant told CNET that the device in question had a third-party component: “From a thorough investigation, we have found that the battery used in the device was not manufactured by Samsung or a company authorised by Samsung”. Then he said, “We sincerely wish for our customer’s swift recovery, and strongly recommend all our consumers to use Samsung’s genuine or approved batteries that have been specifically designed for use in Samsung products.”
The explosion, though no fault of Samsung, is a stark reminder how dangerous these devices could become. Use of third-party batteries and other components is exceptionally common in developing nations, as they tend to be much more affordable than their original counterparts.
But for Samsung, which spent much of the late last year grappling with the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, the new incident could further hurt its brand value, something that contributes immensely on a buyer’s purchase decision.
Last year, Samsung recalled the Galaxy Note 7 after several incidents were reported where the handset was going up in flames. The company later issued an apology and recalled the smartphone.